Sunday, 9 December 2012: Sydney, the toothache

wildflower wildflower Buz and Kathy's house is on a steep hillside overlooking the Georges River, which drains into Botany Bay. The street ends just one house beyond theirs, and beyond that is wooded parkland. Sunday morning, before David got up, Buz, Kathy, and I took Milo for a walk down through the park to the river.

Along the way, I took photos of wildflowers, which, I'm embarrassed to admit, I don't know the names of. These are two of the best shots. Anybody want to chime in with ID's?

river kook Milo loves nothing so much as fetching balls and sticks, and he loves it even better when the sticks are thrown into water, so Kathy kept him busy for quite a while at the public swimming beach at the bottom fo the trail. (That's him just disappearing out of the frame on the right in the left-hand photo. Note that the line of posts that arcs around the swimming beach out in the river supports shark netting; this is, after all, Australia.) Milo is still quite young, though, and doesn't yet realize that he can swim, so he wouldn't go any farther out than he could wade and insisted on waiting until the current drifted sticks thrown too far back in toward shore.

(In fact, Milo is such an enthusiastic and ingenious fetcher of balls and sticks that he actually found a way to play fetch even when he couldn't find a human willing to throw a ball. He discovered that, if he nudged a tennis ball off Buz and Kathy's elevated porch, which is almost a full story above ground, it would bounce and roll down their steep front yard and driveway and across the street below into the neighbor's yard, where he could go bounding after it, bring it back, and repeat the whole process. Unfortunately, though, the trick required his dashing down the driveway into and across the street each time, and despite their proximity to the street's dead end, Kathy was unwilling to let him take the risk, so he is no longer permitted to play auto-fetch.)

On our walk along the beach, I got this shot of a kookaburra (Dacelo sp.), which let us get quite close to him before flying off.

flannel Kathy On the way back up, I saw this plant, which Kathy says is "flannel flower" (Actinotus helianthi, Asteraceae, apparently quite common around Sydney and emblematic of the city). On the right is a good shot of Kathy (though rather an undignified one of Milo).

Unfortunately, when David finally emerged, we learned that his "sore teeth" had coalesced into a full-fledged raging toothache and that he had passed most of the night in agony, periodically considering waking the house and asking for a ride to the emergency room. We therefore took him off to the nearest Sunday doc-in-a-box, in Hurstville, where the doctor diagnosed an abcessed tooth and prescribed amoxycillin and oxicodone. Meanwhile, the weather changed. The predicted high of 77°F happened during our early morning walk, and the temperature fell steadily all day, while the wind came up and the clouds rolled in.

ducks hairtail While David and Buz waited their turn with the doctor, Kathy and I strolled the village's main street. Hurstville is almost entirely Chinese, so the shop windows were exotic and appetizing.

On the left, lacquered ducks and pork. On the right, hairtails (probably Trichiurus lepturus) in a fish-market window.



bully eye shells In that same fish-market display were these bright red fish labeled "bully eye." I poked around on the web but couldn't find anything by that name (just various combination of "bull," "eye," "bullseye," etc., none of which looked anything like these). When I later asked Buz, an avid fisherman, whether he knew, he took it as a challenge and got out all his illustrated fish guidebooks. He thinks they are probably Priacanthus macracanthus, the red bigeye.

The bailer shells on the right were much easier. They are Melo amphora and are called that because their empty shells have been used for centuries to bail out leaky boats.

These sweep, left, are Scorpis aequipinnis.

Buz also knew of a pharmacy open on Sundays, in another nearby suburb, so we filled David's prescriptions, took him home, dosed him up, and put him to bed.

Buz and Kathy were invited to an afternoon barbeque (i.e., a cookout) at a neighbor's house, but on the oxicodone, David was a zombie, so Buz stayed home with him while Kathy and I went to the party. Some of the food is shown at the right—steak and sausage from the grill and wide variety of salads (the one in the left foreground is roasted pumpkin, spinach, and pine nuts.

At the party, we met Buz and Kathy's son Tristan (whom I had last seen in Southampton, U.K., on the occasion of the 2006 deep-sea meetings) and his new wife, originally from Brazil but now an Australian citizen. They were in the throes of serious packing, because they would be moving to Seattle early in January. Tristan, who's in IT, had been headhunted by Amazon some time earlier, but he'd told them he wasn't ready and to call him back in a year. They did, and, as it happened, on the day after the wedding. Fortunately, the bride was enthusiastic about the move, so off they went. Tristan already has U.S. citizenship because his parents are both American and he was actually born in San Diego, before they moved to Sydney.

For that evening, Kathy had made reservations at a really good local restauarant that would not be open any other evening during our stay, but they had to be cancelled because David wasn't up to it. David slept, and the rest of us got Thai take-out instead.

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